Welcome to Area 1: Pedagogy


In parallel to the exponential growth of Internet users worldwide over the last three decades, those situations where screens and digital technology mediate learning (Bower 2019) have become increasingly common – in formal, non-formal and informal contexts. Situations of crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to earthquakes, through armed conflicts, to name a few, make online learning and teaching a powerful tool to ensure seamlessly education, worldwide, no matter the challenge (Affouneh & Burgos 2021).

The Web started to be used for teaching purposes on a consistent basis in 1996, bringing about new types of learning experiences and educational practices, along with a host of expectations, hopes, myths and promises that too often did not live up to the hype (Bates 2005). While online courses and HE institutions specializing in this modality of education have proliferated dramatically since then, there are important inequalities influenced by socio-economic and cultural factors in terms of who can participate and benefit from it, (Czerniewicz 2018, Eynon & Malmberg 2021). On the other side, Open Education and Open Science have increased the access ratio and diversity to content, research data, services and resources, drastically (Stracke et al. 2020).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions and whole educational systems worldwide that had worked only on face-to-face settings had no other choice but to migrate to online settings. The main period lasted from late 2019 (mainly in China) to nowadays, in 2022, worldwide, with a specific stress in 2020 and 2021, when remote learning shifted from being a specific niche for learning anytime, anywhere, to becoming the norm. Due to the impossibility of delivering education face-to-face, educators and learners used to interacting within the boundaries of the classrooms had to quickly adapt to a new reality (Stracke et al. 2021).

The new situation revealed important competence and skill gaps, along with social and material inequalities, affecting the readiness of educators and students to fully participate in digital learning experiences. As a result of this, the transformation of educational methodology in this context has become a priority to many key stakeholders in the education sector, as evidenced by the high number of reports and initiatives launched between 2021 and 2022. These reports aimed at shaping the future of education and, in particular, addressing the role that digital resources, services, and technologies can or should play in it (e.g. Barber et al. 2021, Barosevcic et al. 2021, European Commission 2020, Facer & Selwyn 2021, Higueras et al. 2021, Huang et al. 2020).

Most likely, digital education will keep playing a more central role in the design of learning experiences in a post-pandemic world. Adopting digital education in a strategic way will require a special sensitivity towards crisis situations beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, which might overlap and unfold simultaneously. This will require more flexibility from traditional educational institutions who are used to delivering teaching offline, so that they invest more in hybrid approaches that alternate remote and on-site activities or even combine online and on-campus participants, as proposed in the HyFlex approach (Rider & Moore 2021).

The modules in this section cover key aspects that any Digital Education Strategy should take into consideration. The first module addresses the importance of providing educators and students with ways of gaining self-awareness of their digital competence level, so that they can identify both weaknesses and strengths as a first step in enhancing their ability to engage effectively and appropriately in digital education.

The second module focuses on the support to educators in developing the digital education competences that they need to design and deliver suitable learning experiences, considering the characteristics of the digital ecosystems in which their practice takes place. In a similar way, the third module explores how to support students in developing the digital skills they need to actively engage in digital education experiences and make the most of them.

The last module looks at the assessment implications of digital education, another aspect that Digital Education Strategies cannot ignore.


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  • Barber, M., Bird, L., Fleming, J., Titterington-Giles, E., Edwards, E., & Leyland, C. (2021). Gravity assist: Propelling higher education towards a brighter future – Digital teaching and learning review (p. 160). The Office for Students.
  • Barosevcic, M., Lynn-Matern, J., & Jones, C. (2021). Technology-enabled teaching and learning at scale. A roadmap to 2030. Jisc and Emerge Education. https://repository.jisc.ac.uk/8405/1/technology-enabled-teaching-and-learning-at-scale-report.pdf
  • Bates, T. (2005). The promise and myths of e-learning in post-secundary education. In M. Castells (Ed.), The Network Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (pp. 271–292). Edward Elgar.
  • Bower, M. (2019). Technology-mediated learning theory. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(3), 1035–1048. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12771
  • Czerniewicz, L. (2018). Inequality as Higher Education Goes Online. In N. Bonderup Dohn, S. Cranmer, J.-A. Sime, M. de Laat, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), Networked Learning: Reflections and Challenges (pp. 95–106). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-74857-3_6
  • European Commission. (2020). Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027: Resetting education and training for the digital age. https://ec.europa.eu/education/education-in-the-eu/digital-education-action-plan_en
  • Eynon, R., & Malmberg, L.-E. (2021). Lifelong learning and the Internet: Who benefits most from learning online? British Journal of Educational Technology, 52(2), 569–583. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.13041
  • Facer, K., & Selwyn, N. (2021). Digital technology and the futures of education – towards ‘non-stupid’ optimism. Paper commissioned for theUNESCOFutures of Education report (forthcoming, 2021). https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000377071
  • Huang, R.H., Liu, D.J., Tlili, A., Yang, J.F., Wang, H.H., Jemni, M, & Burgos, D. (2020). Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption: The Chinese Experience in Maintaining Undisrupted Learning in COVID-19 Outbreak. Beijing: Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University. Retrieved August, the 12th, 2021 from http://www.alecso.org/nsite/images/pdf/1-4-2.pdf
  • Rider, J., & Moore, A. (2021). Scaling HyFlex for the Post-Pandemic Campus. Educause Review. https://web.archive.org/save/https://er.educause.edu/articles/2021/8/scaling-hyflex-for-the-post-pandemic-campus
  • Stracke, C. M., Bozkurt, A., Conole, G., Nascimbeni, F., Ossiannilsson, E., Sharma, R. C., Burgos, D., Cangialosi, K., Cox, G., Mason, J., Nerantzi, C., Agbu, J.-F., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Santos-Hermosa, G., Sgouropoulou, C., & Shon, J. G. (2020). Open Education and Open Science for our Global Society during and after the COVID-19 Outbreak. In Proceedings of the Open Education Global Conference 2020 (s.p., 4 p.). https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4275669
  • Stracke, C. M., Sharma, R. C., Swiatek, C., Burgos, D., Bozkurt, A., Karakaya, Ö., Ossiannilsson, E., Mason, J., Nerantzi, C., Agbu, J.-F., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Shon, J. G., Inamorato dos Santos, A., Farrow, R., Wan, M., Santos-Hermosa, G., & Conole, G. (2021). How COVID-19 has an impact on formal education: A collective international evaluation of open education in distance learning. Proceedings of the 14th Annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI). (pp. 4270-4275). https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5764585